This dairy-free chicken tandoori recipe is amazingly succulent and filled with earthy and aromatic spices. Although that flavors are complex, the recipe is actually quite easy!
My favorite part about international travel is being introduced to new cultures, especially through new cuisines. India is on my short list, but until I get there, I’m busy recreating Indian dishes in my kitchen. This Chicken Tandoori recipe is my third attempt at making Indian food and once again, I am shocked by how easy it is.
Indian food is all about that smoky and sweet slow heat. Don’t be daunted by long ingredient lists – most of the time, it’s just a long list of spices, curated to deliver complex, multi-layered flavors to your taste buds.
Tandoori Chicken is really very simple. I layered in flavors by cooking the spices on the stove, but that’s totally optional if you want to save time. Find out where to get responsibly-raised pastured chicken here.
I also baked the chicken in 10-minute intervals, slathering on more marinade in between. Again – totally optional if you want to make this recipe as easy as possible. In order to make Tandoori Chicken paleo-friendly and dairy-free, I simply swapped in full-fat coconut milk for plain yogurt.
The final dish is smoky and juicy with a just-right heat that creeps up on you. A drizzle of lemon or a bite of sweet caramelized onion helps cut that spice if you start to sweat. The chicken is cooked perfectly and practically falls off the bone. And that beautiful coloring is impressive!
I ate my Tandoori Chicken in an I-can’t-get-enough sort of way and I have no doubt you will too.
My only regret is not making this sooner.
Chicken Tandoori Recipe:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- 6-8 chicken drumsticks or a combination of drumsticks and thighs, bone-in
- 1-2 large onions sliced into rounds
- lemon wedges
- Optional: Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add all the spices (through turmeric) and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk with spices. Stir in garlic, ginger, lemon, salt, and pepper.
- Using a sharp knife, cut deep slashes to the bone in 2-3 places on each piece of chicken. Coat in marinade. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Transfer chicken to baking sheet, reserving excess marinade. Bake for 20 minutes then generously brush on extra marinade. Bake another 10 minutes, remove, and generously brush on more marinade. Bake a final 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the final tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion rounds. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Flip, cover, and cook 3 minutes more.
- Serve chicken with cooked onions, lemon wedges, and cilantro.
About Danielle Cushing of The Every Kitchen
Danielle Cushing is a registered dietitian and the blogger behind The Every Kitchen. Her blog focuses on easy recipes using accessible ingredients that can be made in every kitchen. She also enjoys exploring how food nourishes our bodies and minds as well as our relationships with each other. Danielle writes from her home in Chicago where she lives with her dog and cat. Connect with her on Instagram @theeverykitchen.
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